November 15th, 2010 / 4:00 pm
Literary Magazine Club

{LMC} November’s Selection: The Collagist

One of the things we’re most interested in doing with the LMC is looking at both print and online literary magazines. Much is made about whether or not great writing exists online and every other month we’ll try to answer that question as we read a new issue of an online magazine. The first online magazine we’ll be reading is The Collagist, edited by Matt Bell and published by Dzanc Books.

The Collagist is published on the 15th of each month and features a mix of fiction, poetry, novel excerpts, essays and reviews.

In the Letter from the Editor, Matt Bell introduces the work in the November issue:

In Issue Sixteen, we have the return of our Classic Reprint series, where we reprint a previously published short story alongside an introduction by another writer. This month, that story is Amy Hempel’s “The Most Girl Part of You,” which originally appeared in Vanity Fair, and most recently in Hempel’s The Collected Stories. The story is introduced by Blake Butler.

In addition, we also have fiction from Erik AndersonAndrew BorgstromGavin Pate, and Kellie Wells, as well as an excerpt from Charles Dodd White’s Lambs of Men, out this month from Casperian Books.

In poetry, we have work by Cathy Linh CheDavid JamesMaya Janson, and A. Van Jordan. Our non-fiction includes an essay by Chad Simpson, as well as book reviews of The Wilding by Benjamin PercyHygiene and the Assassin by Amélie NothombMy Bright Midnight by Josh RussellOur Island of Epidemics by Matthew Salesses, and A Geography of Secrets by Frederick Reuss.

There’s a whole lot for us to talk about and I cannot wait for us to get started.

As we read this month’s issue, there are other questions and potential topics for discussion.

Why do we make the distinction between online and print when talking about a magazine?

Do online magazines make the most of the medium? Often times, online magazines publish on a traditional schedule and simply present the work much in the same way they would in a print magazine. What would it take to exploit the benefits of online publishing?

There are all kinds of ideas about what can be published online and more often than not you hear that online writing must be short because our attention spans have been compromised by television, the Internet, etc. Are our preconceived notions about the kind of writing that works online accurate?

The Collagist is one of the many magazines edited by a well known writer which begs the question, is how we read a magazine influenced by what we know (or think) about the editor?

Online publishing allows us to interact with writers and writing in new ways. In many online magazines we can comment on a given writer’s work. We can share what we think about their work. There’s an immediate relationship should you choose to take advantage; there’s a conversation. Does that influence how writers write when submitting to online magazines? Do we write for attention when we’re writing for online venues?

We’re also able to learn more about writers through interviews and similar exposure. We can hear writers reading their own work. There’s a level of access that is rarely there for print magazines. The Collagist, for example, takes advantage of interviews on their blog and allowing writers to read their work via The Collagist podcasts. Often, they include video reviews of books. How do these interactive features contribute to how the magazine is read?

There are many other questions and I’m looking forward to those and more this month. Stay tuned for details about a live chat with Matt Bell.

If you’re interested in writing a guest post about the November issue of The Collagist as a whole or about specific piece(s), write your post and e-mail it to me at roxane at roxanegay dot com. There’s also a Google Group where we talk about Very Secret Club Things. Send me an e-mail if you would like to be added. We hope a great many of you participate this month. Next month, we’ll be reading the venerable Ploughshares.

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  1. Kyle Minor

      Roxane, this LMC is the best thing going on the Internet. Thank you for doing it.

  2. Roxane

      Thank you very much, Kyle. I love lit mags and talking about them so I’m glad others are finding this interesting too!

  3. Lukewarmresolve

      After reading about and hearing about Lambs of God for a good long while it was excellent to read some of it. And the chapter didn’t disappoint.

  4. Drifter

      The link to Ploughshares is no doubt well-intended, but it links to an anti-nukes NGO, not the venerable literary magazine,